PILGRIMAGE 

Both Kedarnath and Badrinath are comfortably located one days drive away from SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE.  The drive to the shrines goes through high altitude Himalayas and is breathtaking!

Both Badrinath and Kedarnath have natural hot springs in which you can cleanse your body and soul on the way to and from the temples.

BADRINATH

 

Badrinath temple is located on the origin of the Alaknanda river and is the most eastern of the four holy temples part of the “Char Dham” (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri).   Badrinath is a place sacred to Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu's dual form of Nara-Narayana.  In the Mahabharata, Krishna, addressing Arjuna, says, "Thou wast Nara in a former body, and, with Narayana for thy companion, didst perform dreadful austerity at Badari for many myriads of years." 
Badrinath was once carpeted with wild berries which gave it the name 'Badri Van' meaning 'forest of berries'.  The Temple was built by Adi Shankaracharaya, the philosopher-saint of the 8th century.  The temple has been renovated several times due to damage by avalanches.  It was restored in the 19th century by the royal houses of Scindia & Holkar.  Under the temple you will find a natural hot spring which is a blessing even when the weather outside is below freezing temperatures.  The Neelkanth peak (6,597) also known as the “Gharwal Queen” towers over Badrinath. 
Badrinath Temple is situated at an altitude of 3,133 meters,  162 km (7 hours) upstream of SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE.  The drive to Badrinath is breathtaking.  The views of the ragged high altitude Himalayas on the last 2 hours of the journey prepare you for the arrival at the holy Temple of Badrinath.  The vehicle can reach all the way to Badrinath.
In season, helicopter flights to Badrinath are available from Gauchar (10 km upstream from SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE).

KEDARNATH

 

Kedarnath is located on the origin of the Mandakini river at an altitude of 3,584 meters.  Kedar is another name of lord Shiva, the protector & the destroyer to whom the place is dedicated and hence the name - Kedarnath.  Located in the Rudra Himalaya range this ancient and magnificient temple is over thousand years old and is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform.  The present temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya.  The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology.  A large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard at the outside the temple door.  A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.
There is no motorable road up to Kedarnath.  Your vehicle will reach Gaurikund where your walk to Kedarnath temple will begin. At Gaurikund there are natural medicinal hot springs and a temple dedicated to Gauri.  You will reach Kedarnath after a steep 14 km walk over a paved path from Gaurikund.  Unfit people are likely to take all day for the walk.  There are places on the way like Janglechatti, Rambara and Garurchatti where one can rest a while or spend the night.
Gauri Kund is an 87 km (4 hours) drive from SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE.  The drive to Gauri Kund follows the picturesque Mandakini river while the high snowy peaks of the Chaukhamba range tower over you during your ascent to Kedarnath.
In season, helicopter flights to the Kedarnath Temple are available from Gauchar (10 km upstream from SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE) and from Agastyamuni (35 km, 1 hour from SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE).

HEMKUND SAHIB

 

Hemkund Sahib is one of the most sacred Sikh temples in the world.  Hemkund is famous for the Gurudwara, known as Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji, devoted to Guru Gobind Singh Ji , the tenth Sikh Guru.  Hemkund Sahib is also the highest Gurudwara in the world located at an altitude of 4,329 meters.  The Gurudwara is located on the banks of a picturesque glacial lake surrounded by seven mountain peaks.
Hemkund Sahib can not be reached by vehicle.  The closest place is Govindghat from where you will have to walk or take a pony.
From SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE drive to Joshimat (113 km, 5 hours) where you will spend the night.  The next day, a short drive (21 km, 1 hour) will take you to Govindghat where the walk begins.  You can walk up to Ghagaria in one day (14 km, 5-8 hours it’s quite a steep climb, so it really depends on your fitness level) or camp on the way and walk up comfortably in two days.  After sleeping the night in Ghagaria, your pilgrimage to Hemkund Sahib will take place the next day (a steep 7 km climb ascending 1,100 meters in elevation from Ghagaria to Hemkund Sahib and 7 km back to Ghagaria).  The way down from Ghagaria to Govindghat can be comfortably done in one day.  You can drive back to SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE on the same day or spend a night on the way in Joshimath or another place en route.

In season, helicopter flights to Ghagaria are available from Gauchar (10 km upstream from SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE).

KALPESHWAR TEMPLE

 

Kalpeshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the beautiful valley of Urgam at an elevation of 2,200 meters.  Mythologicaly, the temple represents ShivJi's dreadlocks (Jata) which appeared at Kalpeshwar temple after Lord Shiva had disappeared into earth on his flee from the five Pandava brothers.

from SHIVANANDI RIVER LODGE, drive to Helang (4 hours).  From Helang there is a very bad dirt road for 9 km which will take you to the head of the walk to Kalpeshwar Temple.  The walk is a beutifully picturesque 3km walk on a flat path through three villages.  There are small guest houses on the way, but mostly magnificent camping spots.

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